How to boost engagement by 60% using copywriting
If you are in Hong Kong, chances are, you’ve been bombarded with “D-biz” ads. With up to HK$300,000 up for grabs for each enterprise and hundreds of D-biz providers vying for attention, how do you stand out? On the first day of applications, we had an influx of leads from social media. The problem? Only 20% replied after we reached out to them. We got down to work, tweaked our copy and hoped for a better tomorrow. Lo and behold, on the second day (and since then) we managed to bump the replies up to 80%. That’s a staggering 60% increase and here’s how we boost engagement using copywriting.
Audience is King
The first thing we learnt was “don’t write about the product”. Instead, write about the value that your product brings to your customer.
Take Gillette for example, every advertisement features a familiar close-up of the razor. But, you don’t buy it because of the 5 blades, the smooth glides and the ergonomic handle. You buy it because you see the model getting the smoothest shave ever and that’s what you’re looking for.
Gillette knows most men hate the feeling of cutting their faces with the razor blade. Thus, they use that literal pain point to convince you that Gillette razors will give you the best shave ever.
The next thing we learnt was to keep our ears open. Audience feedback is an invaluable asset that we often overlook when writing copy.
Netflix’s sensational documentary’s title, Don’t F**k With Cats, was not conceived by the film’s creator, Mark Lewis. Instead, it came from one of the documentary’s subjects, Deanna Thompson. During the interview, Thompson said “It’s unwritten but it’s understood. Rule Zero. And Rule Zero is Don’t F**k With Cats.”
This random comment then went on to become the name and face of the documentary.
In the same vein, our go-to reply “Hi, I’m Henson from SleekFlow! How can I help you today?” almost always never gets a response. But for those that do reply, they often ask about SleekFlow’s many WhatsApp features.
Therefore, we changed our go-to reply to “Hi, I’m Henson from SleekFlow! Do you need a WhatsApp solution for your team?” and experienced a 30% surge in replies! That’s a simple tweak to boost engagement using copywriting.
So, always keep your ears peeled as you never know when someone else — whoever that may be — will literally provide you with a copy that clicks and resonates.
Headlines over Deadlines
Headlines – we all love reading them (especially those witty ones!) but hate writing them.
It’s a terrible feeling. A great idea comes to mind, you’re excited to get it out to the world and open your laptop to type. But, nothing comes out.
You then have this whole internal dialogue with yourself on how to best name this piece. Plus, it never helps when you have a looming deadline at the back of your head and your boss is counting on you to boost engagement through copywriting.
Think about how you browse the internet every day. You likely don’t actually read much. Instead, you scan through heaps of content and pick out interesting things for a better look. When skimming content, most readers tend to read the first and last three words of a headline.
Therefore, with so much content out there, it is key to ensure that your copy stands out amongst the rest. You’ve got to make sure that the copy engages your audience as they scan across their screens.
Headlines need to achieve 3 things:
Frame the story
Compel people to engage
Stringing the perfect headline together
It’s important to use common words that you use every day, such as “this”, “after”, “about” to make up the basic structure of readable headlines. These should make up 20% of the words in your headline.
Next, add in some uncommon words to grab attention and add substance to your headline. These words include “awesome”, “more”, “actually” and should make up 10% of your headline.
Following, add some emotional words to stir an emotional response to drive clicks and shares. Words such as “absolutely”, “valuable”, “danger” work best when they make up 15% of your headline.
Lastly, include power phrases as trigger words that command readers attention and action. Just a one phrase such as “for the first time” or “you need to know” will do the trick.
As a rule of thumb, keep your headline to 6 words and around 55 characters long so as to earn the highest click-through rates.
Take your time to come up with a good headline and make sure to test it for efficacy! Because good headlines are worth more than missed deadlines.
K.I.S.S Clunky Messaging Goodbye
When it comes to copywriting (and maybe everything in life), stick to the K.I.S.S principle and kiss your troubles goodbye! What’s the K.I.S.S principle? Keep it simple, stupid.
More often than not, we tend to overthink things.
Here’s the copy in question: “2 reasons why the price of silver may rise steeply”
Bencivenga wasn’t a fan and asked Rosenthal “Why are you saying ‘may’ rise?”. Bencivenga continued, “You should test a headline that sounds a little stronger, a little bolder, such as ‘Why the price of silver will rise steeply.’ That way it sounds, Dan, like you believe what you’re predicting.”
Sounds familiar? This exchange could go on forever as everyone has an opinion on how the audience will perceive the message. Trust us, we know because we’ve been through this!
Just Test It!
Here’s the first tip, “just test it”. Our first D-biz ad copy went through five iterations before sending it out to our first potential leads. We kept second-guessing ourselves and was striving to make the “perfect” copy. Change a word here, add an emoji there. All these small, minute changes that may or may not even make an impact. We sent it out and garnered a respectable reply rate of 20%. We wanted more and this leads us to the second tip.
Straight to the Point
The second tip is to keep it short and straight to the point. As we wanted to include everything our potential lead would possibly want to know, the text message ended up being four paragraphs long. Not the best user experience if you’re a potential lead receiving a reply via text. We shortened it, added in our third tip and got an 80% reply rate from then on.
So what’s this third tip that drove replies up 60%? Show them some proof! The FOMO (fear of missing out) is real, add in social proof to show how others also using your product. Or make a claim and then add a condition to it. It’s a powerful and effective way to add credibility and believability into your content.
A condition makes it clear that your claim is not a guarantee, making the claim more believable. With belief comes trust and with trust comes action.
Taking a leaf out of Ben Settle‘s playbook, he wrote: “An old selling strategy that makes it almost neurologically impossible for people to delete your launch and affiliate emails before opening them…”. By adding a condition to the claim, audiences are more likely to believe the claim.
Bencivenga describes this as “snoozing the reader’s ‘Yeah, sure…’ alarm.” Essentially, conditions take the edge off a promise that sounds too good to be true.
At the end of the day, copywriters are really just making informed guesses about what will compel an audience through mini-experiments. It’s not rocket science to figure out how to boost engagement using copywriting, but it’s also definitely not a walk in the park.